With 78pc of Covid-19 cases now from foreign workers, Dr Noor Hisham calls for more attention on their poor living conditions

Health Director-General Datuk Dr Noor Hisham Abdullah said from May 4 till today, 78 per cent of positive cases came from foreign workers who struggle to avoid infection due to their living conditions. — Picture by Yusof Mat Isa
Health Director-General Datuk Dr Noor Hisham Abdullah said from May 4 till today, 78 per cent of positive cases came from foreign workers who struggle to avoid infection due to their living conditions. — Picture by Yusof Mat Isa

KUALA LUMPUR, May 29 — As local Covid-19 transmission dies down, most of the cases now are from foreign workers living in close quarters with each other.

Health Director-General Datuk Dr Noor Hisham Abdullah said from May 4 till today, 78 per cent of positive cases came from foreign workers who struggle to avoid infection due to their living conditions.

As such, he advised employers to screen their foreign workers citing the example of the cleaning service owner today, who sent all his employees for testing and 23 came back positive.

“Our high index of suspicion now is on foreign labour as almost 78 per cent of foreign workers we tested from May 4 till 29 have come back positive.

“However one of the reasons we find this is happening is because of the confined and crowded spaces they live in,” said Dr Noor Hisham today during his daily Covid-19 briefing.

“If one of them tests positive then the whole house will be positive as well. They are not able to practise social distancing. That’s a reason why we need to address this as soon as possible by looking into their accommodation.

“If we can solve this problem we can curb the infections,” he added.

A new cluster emerged today from a cleaning company where 23 foreign workers tested positive for Covid-19.

Dr Noor Hisham said they will now focus on their residence and do the necessary screening and trace their movements and isolate those in close contact with the infected.

He however said there is no possibility of stopping all industries that involved foreign workers and only allow it to resume once every foreign worker is tested in Malaysia is tested.

“That’s not practical. We can do tests from time to time but the virus is still in the community.

“We will still do our targeted approach and identify clusters from which we isolate and do screenings and disinfections,” he added.

 

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